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HILL v. RICHARDS. (03/20/62)

March 20, 1962

HILL, APPELLANT,
v.
RICHARDS.



Appeal, No. 78, Jan. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Nov. T., 1960, No. 127, in case of Marvin Hill v. Thomas J. Richards and Maida M. Richards, his wife. Judgment of non-suit affirmed.

COUNSEL

Francis H. S. Ede, for appellant.

L. J. Briody, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 406 Pa. Page 453]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

Plaintiff has appealed from a judgment of non-suit after the lower Court had dismissed plaintiff's motion to take off a compulsory non-suit in an action of trespass for personal injuries.

We have considered the testimony and all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. The defendants were the owners of a property in Pen Argyl upon which they were building a home, mostly by the individual labor of the husband-defendant. The plaintiff, who was a neighbor and the janitor for the high school, would watch what Mr. Richards was doing and would help out occasionally. As the building progressed, he gradually began to help more and more until finally it was three or four times a week. However, his help was that of a friendly neighbor and he expected no compensation.

The new building faced in a southerly direction. By October 27, 1959, it had progressed to the point where the framing was completed and the studding erected. At the northeast corner there was a window. To the west of this window was the entrance for the rear door. To the south of this entrance was a hallway and straight ahead from the doorway was a stairwell which would eventually provide the steps leading to the cellar.

At about 6:30 P.M. on the evening of October 27, 1959, the plaintiff called Mr. Richards' attention to the open stairwell and "asked him if it wouldn't be a bad idea to cover up this cellarway so his kids - his [defendant's] own children used to run around in the place - might go down in the cellar, ...." Mr. Richards "said he was going to get at it."

Thereafter, the men worked together for one hour. Defendant was handing boards in through the window and plaintiff was pulling them in and laying them on the floor. An electric light cord with a single bulb was

[ 406 Pa. Page 454]

    hung in the window frame to furnish light for the work. However, the studding which were 2 by 4's and about 16 inches apart, cast shadows across ...


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